Monday, February 01, 2016

Is Zika virus overblown?

Zika virus reminds me of the Rubella (German Measles) epidemics in the past.

Kids were pretty sick with regular measles (and a few in the US died, although the death rate was high in malnourished kids in Africa and Asia).
But Rubella, no problem...unless you were pregnant, then you risked having a kid blind, deaf, or mentally retarded.

Zika virus is a lot milder than Dengue, which is epidemic here in Asia and does result in a small percentage of deaths, especially among kids.

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

However, Zika virus is dangerous if you are pregnant: Microcephaly is a marker for severe brain damage. But the Rubella problem was worse in early pregnancy: No data on Zika.

But Dengue doesn't leave you immune (indeed, repeat infections can be worse than the first time).

But Zika virus does make you immune if you have had it, according to the CDC.

So just take the pill, and arrange to catch the disease before you get pregnant. And eventually, like regular flu, "herd immunity" will wipe out the problem.

But the real danger no one is mentioning: The same mosquito that carries Zika also carries Dengue...and other worse diseases.
...the current massive epidemic was an event waiting to happen. Latin America has huge numbers of A. aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, an important vector for Zika. (The Asian tiger mosquito, A. albopictus, which is on the rise around the world, is believed to be a vector as well.) In addition, nobody in the Americas had immunity to the virus. 

Yellow fever?

Yeah. And the last time that virus was imported to the USA, a lot of folks died.

and the answer?

uh DDT? or maybe drain the swamps? (i.e. destroy that pristine "wet land" nearby?)

And if that cartoon looks familiar, maybe this is why: before he started writing children's books, Dr. Seuss drew cartoons for ad campaigns....

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